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Trisha Brown Dance Company: Associate director Diane Madden

Monday, March 10, 2014

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Trisha Brown Dance Company, whose founder has created dances for more than 50 years, performed this past weekend at the Ohio Theatre.

The Cleveland performance showcased one last time the major works of legendary choreographer Trisha Brown in their original theatrical context.

One of the most remarkable choreographers of the past century, Brown has left an indelible mark on the dance world, creating over 100 dance works since she began choreographing in 1961.

Repertory for the evening included dances from three decades of Brown’s extraordinary career. “Set and Reset,” created in 1983, is choreographed to music by Laurie Anderson, with sets by renowned visual artist Robert Rauschenberg, “If You Couldn’t See Me” (1994) is a solo that Brown originally created for herself, with sets and music by Rauschenberg. This work was later transformed into a duet which she danced with Bill T. Jones and then with Mikhail Baryshnikov.

The program also included the final two dances that Brown created for her company. “Les Yeux et l’aime” from 2011 is set to Jean-Philippe Rameau’s ”Pygmalion.” Brown’s last work, “I’m going to toss my arms – if you catch them they’re yours,” premiered in Paris in 2011 and is set to music by Alvin Curran. 

When Brown first arrived in New York City in 1961, she became immersed in what was to become the post-modern phenomena of Judson Dance Theater and began to push the limits of choreography, changing dance forever. In 1970 when she founded her own company, she created early dances for alternative spaces, including roof tops and walls, in her groundbreaking work. She collaborated with such visual artists as Rauschenberg, Fujiko Nakaya, Donald Judd and Elizabeth Murray, among others, and with modern composers including Laurie Anderson, Dave Douglas and Alvin Curran.

Brown was the first woman choreographer to receive the coveted MacArthur Foundation Fellowship “Genius Award.” Among her numerous other awards are five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Guggenheim Fellowships and a lifetime Bessie Award.

In planning for the future of Trisha Brown Dance Company, Brown took the title of Founding Artistic Director and Choreographer in 2013. She named Diane Madden and Carolyn Lucas as Associate Artistic Directors. The company’s plan going forward offers a new vision for extending the life of a single-artist dance company, including the ongoing presentation of Brown’s masterworks in both site-specific and museum contexts; and the preservation of her papers, film and video archive, sets and costumes. The president of the company’s board of directors Kirk Radke says the plan “is a bold reimagining of how the public experiences the work of a great choreographer.”

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